Practicing Leadership: 3 Ways to Encourage Up-and-Coming Leaders

Posted on: August 27th, 2019 by Jen Mueller

This is what leadership looks like. We see it on the field of play with our favorite teams and players. Those same actions and mindsets should be part of the way we approach leadership in our work environment. Just take a look…

Russell Wilson isn’t fighting for a spot on the Seahawks roster. He’s already the starting quarter and a team leader. He doesn’t need pre-season football – but several of his teammates do. They need the preseason experience to prove their value and be seen as a contributor in the organization.

That’s the reason Russell told members of the broadcast team (including me) he feels a sense of responsibility to give guys a chance and help them be their best. Borrow his approach when you’ve identified an up-and-coming leader who isn’t ready for a promotion but shows potential.

3 Ways to encourage up-and-coming leaders

Be intentional about giving unproven talent attention. For Russell that means, looking in the direction of an unproven guy to see if he can get open instead of automatically going to the guy he’s most familiar with, Tyler Lockett.

For you, that could mean asking your “second choice” to spearhead part of a project instead of leaning on you go-to who you already know can do the job.


Catch them doing something great – even when they don’t think anyone is watching. Russell finds ways to call guys out in a position manner when they execute their assignment but have nothing to show for it in the box score (i.e. no reception, no yards, no touchdown.)

Your action: Be on the lookout for little wins and call them out. They’ll be hidden in the unsexy part of the process like asking a great question during a meeting or showing up with a good idea even if it doesn’t get implemented.


Offer feedback to make them better. Russell makes a point of coaching up teammates when better effort of more focus is needed. Rookies or newcomers can’t raise their standards if they don’t know what those standards are.

Your Action: Don’t be afraid to ask for more when you know that’s what the job requires. Be discerning in the words you use but know that up-and-coming leaders won’t be able to address shortcomings if they don’t know what they are.

Up-and-coming leaders can’t raise their standards if they don’t know what those standards are.

Be willing to develop your next wave of leaders. The strength of your organization depends on it and your status as a leader requires it.

Practicing Leadership with a Sports Twist – Create space for others to step up.

Seahawks defensive coach Ken Norton could see the leadership potential in defensive tackle Poona Ford. He just couldn’t hear it. So he created the space for Poona to step up. On more than one occasion Norton has quieted the defensive meeting room, turned to Poona and asked him to speak. That encouragement (and quiet) is all it takes for the second-year player to share his thoughts, wisdom and insight – all of which are appreciated by his teammates.

Jen Mueller is a badass at business communication. She’s spent nearly 20 years inside sports locker rooms and currently serves as the Seattle Seahawks radio sideline reporter and is a member of the Seattle Mariners broadcast team on ROOT Sports. As a result, Jen is an expert at 1-on-1 conversation skills. She shares her techniques and strategies to corporations looking to improve business communication and productivity. Book Jen for your next conference, meeting or training session: 

5 Conversation Skills Great Leaders Master – Webinar Series

Posted on: August 24th, 2019 by Jen Mueller

Leaders know leadership doesn’t come through a title. It’s your ability to influence people that makes you a leader.

That type of leadership starts with the way you handle 1-on-1 interactions which is why Jen is bringing back 5 Conversation Skills Great Leaders Master.

The strategies in this series are:

Practical. Jen based them on the same ones she uses every day in sports and business conversations

Efficient. They take just 15-seconds to implement because Jen doesn’t have time to waste on TV and neither do you!

Results-driven. You’ll see skyrocketing improvement in the way team members respond and your overall productivity.

Register here for just $45! Can’t join live? No problem it’s recorded. 

We’ll cover ways to:

1. Share success without bragging so you can better negotiate for yourself.

2. Deliver clear instructions without sounding bossy.

3. Motivate team members to take the “right” next steps without micro-managing.

4. Discover the mindset shift that changes EVERYTHING!

You don’t need a leadership title to lead right where you are in your career. You do the need ability to effectively share ideas, create buy-in, advocate for yourself and others. Those outcomes are at the heart of these conversation strategies. The 3-part webinar takes place Sept 16-18 from 7-7:30am PT.

Too early?

Can’t join live?

No problem. The entire series is recorded. You’ll receive an email with the link to the recording by noon PT each day.

You’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot of productivity and leadership skills to gain.



Mentorship Moments: The importance of relationships… and Doug Baldwin

Posted on: August 14th, 2019 by Jen Mueller

Holding a microphone doesn’t guarantee an interview.

Being a reporter doesn’t mean people will talk to you.

And even when you do secure an interview and get someone to talk – there’s no assurances they’ll make you look good. Every time I ask a question there’s an opportunity for an athlete to contradict me, correct me or just make me look bad. It’s why I spend so much time building relationships and why I’m especially grateful when they are intentional about making me look good – even when I ask a terrible question.

That’s how former Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin and I became friends.

My first interview with Doug took place during preseason his rookie year. I lost my train of thought during a question, tried to recover, but ended up stumbling around and spitting out something that in no way resembled a good question.

I knew it was a disaster.

I braced myself for his response… which was brilliant.

He answered as if it was the best question he’d ever heard. He gave a thoughtful response and saved me from embarrassment during a live interview.

(I tell the story in the video which could be worth sharing.)

Asking questions on live TV and radio puts me in a vulnerable position. Avoiding the interaction isn’t the solution. Building relationships is.

When I have a good relationship in place there’s a greater chance the athletes will assume the best, not the worst, and they’ll make me look good instead of hanging me out to dry. The same is true for the colleagues in your workplace.

Take the time to build relationships and you’ll have one less thing to worry about in your conversations at work.

Jen Mueller is a veteran sports broadcaster and a badass at business communication. Her conversation strategies are based on nearly 20 years inside sports locker rooms. She provides a fresh and practical approach to how your team should be interacting. Hire Jen for your next conference, quarterly meeting or staff training: 

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